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Broken rails caused a 16-car freight train to derail in the Colorado foothills

Broken rails caused a 16-car freight train to derail in the Colorado foothills

A broken section of railroad track caused 16 cars of a freight train between Burlington Northern and Santa Fe to derail near Pinecliffe seven months ago.

The 78-car train was traveling east when a “vertical crack in the northbound rail” sent cars flying off the tracks, according to summary reports filed with the Federal Railway Administration by BNSF and Union Pacific, which owns the tracks.

Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office


Half of the cars remained upright, the others had tipped over. Some of the derailed cars were empty, others were carrying a load of diesel oil or magnesium, according to the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office. None of the full cars lost any of their contents.

RELATED Cleanup continues at the site of the train derailment in the Colorado foothills (2023)

The busy route was closed for 36 hours until rail workers cleared the derailed cars to the side of the track. To avoid the closure, Amtrak transferred its passengers on the intercity route between Denver and Grand Junction to buses.

CBS


The accident caused nearly $1.4 million in equipment damage to BNSF.

During peak coal traffic times in the early 2010s, more than two dozen freight trains were reported to be using the Moffat Tunnel route each day. This capacity is no longer used.